When can I access my super?

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SMSF accountants are aware that strict rules govern the withdrawal of super monies from an SMSF, typically when a member fulfils a retirement condition and/or attains a specific age.

Your super can be accessed:

  • when you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired); or
  • when you reach preservation age and retire; or
  • under the Transition to Retirement (“TTR”) rules while continuing to work.


Depending on your age, a different “retirement” definition applies, and this will determine if you can withdraw money from your super fund. Below are the definitions you must satisfy to access your superannuation monies.

Aged 55 and less than age 60

  • you’ve met your preservation age; and
  • ceased gainful employment ie. stopped meeting the work test; and
  • have no intention of returning to work for 10 hours or more each week

Aged 60 and less than age 65

  • you’ve met your preservation age; and
  • ceased one form of gainful employment ie. stopped meeting the work test

Aged 65 and over

  • you are deemed retired irrespective of your working status (you can, however, continue to contribute to your superfund if you pass the work test as above).

What documentation is required to substantiate my retirement?

  • Genuine termination of employment
  • The statutory declaration to confirm the intention not to work again for more than 10 hours per week

Preservation Age

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
From 1 July 1964 60

 Transition to Retirement (“TTR”) income streams

Accessing super is not limited to only when one retires. Individuals can access their super whilst working via a TTR, provided they have reached their preservation age. A maximum of 10% of your super balance at the start of the financial year may be accessed via a TTR.

In addition to the above common ways to access your super, the particular circumstances in which super may be accessed include:

  • Permanent incapacity
  • Terminal illness
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Compassionate grounds
  • Death

If you have any queries in relation to when you can access your superannuation, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss.

Kreston Stanley Williamson Team

*Correct as of October 2017

*Disclaimer – this article has been produced by Kreston Stanley Williamson as a service to its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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